Part of the major crisis of illegal plans and poor plans in Harare and surrounding towns is a result of the absence of an up-to-date master plan, city planner Dr Percy Toriro has said.
The master plan being used by Harare City Council, Chitungwiza Town Council and Ruwa council is almost 30-years-old and corrupt officials are taking advantage of the major changes since the early 1990s to parcel out land on wetlands.
Harare’s master plan was done in 1993.
“A master plan should last for 10 years before full revision, but interestingly Harare is using a 1993 master plan meaning in 2023 it will be 30-years-old,” said Mr Toriro while addressing a virtual meeting organised by Harare Wetlands Trust last week.
“It can no longer respond to the current challenges the city is facing since every period has its peculiar challenges.”
A master plan is a city’s overall land use planning document which constitutes policies and strategies regarding how land should be used and how developments should occur, looking at future water supplies, road networks, housing provision, environmental management and transport for people and goods.
The 1993 master plan looks at the whole metropolitan region right the way to Norton and Mazowe as well as the towns and city in Harare province.
Mr Toriro said illegal cultivation on wetlands was also partly to blame for flooding as it was blocking natural water ways.
Harare Wetlands Trust coordinator Julia Pierini said half of wetlands have been lost in the city over the last 15 years.
The city, which adopted a draft revision of the master plan in 2018 for Harare, has been blaming lacking of financial resources for the failure to come up with the critical document, but the city fathers have been caught offside on numerous counts for failing to prioritise important things. Poor and illegal planning has led to arrests of a batch of councillors and former mayors.